Politics, theory, methods of evaluation, from simple health programs to evaluation of large-scale interventions. Emphasizes experimental and quasi-experimental designs to estimate program impacts, as well as evaluation of program implementation. Case studies drawn from health field illustrate various types of evaluations. Prerequisite: background in introductory statistics.
Health programs usually are implemented to achieve specific outcomes by performing some type of intervention or service. While evaluations may be performed for a variety of reasons, most are conducted to answer two fundamental questions: Is the program working as intended?; and second, Why is this the case? Evaluations help decisionmakers to understand the reasons for program performance, and to make informed judgments about improving a program, extending it to other sites, or cutting back or abolishing a program so that resources may be allocated elsewhere. In essence, evaluation is a management or decisionmaking tool for administrators, planners, policy-makers and other health officials.
This course deals with the application of research methods to judge the success of health programs. The services emphasized are health and medical care, although the concepts and methods are equally relevant to other sectors. Lectures and discussions concerning problems and techniques are combined with field experiences in health services delivery or evaluation programs. In this course you will be able to:
1. Explain strategies and techniques for evaluating health programs;
2. Discuss political, administrative ethical, and cultural issues in evaluating health programs;
3. Describe examples of evaluation research in health services as well as other sectors;
4. Develop an evaluation design to deal with a particular problem found in an existing program; and
5. Be able to assess the adequacy of proposals and program evaluations designed by others.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Classroom lectures, reading, plus a field component where students design an evaluation for a health program.
Students should have completed at least a basic statistics course. HSERV 511 Introduction to Health Services is also recommended (but not required).
Class assignments and grading
Reviews of evaluation articles and designing an evaluation of a real health program.
For the Final Report, points are assigned based on three criteria. The first criterion is whether all parts of the assignment are completed. For example, points would be deducted if a section was missing from the Final Report. The second criterion is continuity. Evaluations are usually conducted to answer specific questions. Therefore, the methods should describe clearly how you will go about answering your questions. Points would be deducted if this continuity is absent or weak across sections of the report. The third criterion is quality. The main issue here is how thorough your work is in applying evaluation principles from the text and class sessions in your written and oral assignments.
Each article review allocates points based on the accuracy and thoroughness of the answers.